State v. Knapp, 00-2590-CR.

Citation265 Wis.2d 278,666 N.W.2d 881,2003 WI 121
Decision Date22 July 2003
Docket NumberNo. 00-2590-CR.,00-2590-CR.
PartiesSTATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Appellant-Cross-Respondent, v. Matthew J. KNAPP, Defendant-Respondent-Cross-Appellant.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin

For the plaintiff-appellant-cross respondent the cause was argued by William L. Gansner, assistant attorney general, with whom on the briefs was Peggy A. Lautenschlager, attorney general.

For the defendant-respondent-cross appellant there were briefs by Robert G. LeBell, Milwaukee, and oral argument by Robert G. LeBell.


This case comes to us upon certification from the court of appeals on the issue of whether physical evidence obtained as the direct result of a Miranda1 violation should be suppressed when the violation was an intentional attempt to prevent the suspect from exercising his Fifth Amendment rights. Such review is necessary in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court case of Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428 (2000). We also review additional issues, including whether the statements provided to the Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) agents in violation of Miranda were involuntary; whether the physical evidence seized during the defendant's arrest should be suppressed as a violation of Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981); whether the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the detective entered the exterior doors of the apartment without knocking and announcing; whether the circuit court erred in suppressing evidence seized during the second warrantless search, with his brother's consent, of the defendant's bedroom; and whether the circuit court erred in admitting hearsay evidence implicating a third party in the murder.

¶ 2. First, with regard to the certified issue, based upon the holding of the U.S. Supreme Court in Dickerson, we reverse the decision of the circuit court which denied the motion to suppress evidence obtained as the direct result of a Miranda violation. We hold that Dickerson requires us to overrule the decision in State v. Yang, 2000 WI App. 63, 233 Wis. 2d 545, 608 N.W.2d 703, where, as here, the Miranda violation was intentional. The policy considerations related to deterrence and judicial integrity, which are the underpinnings of the exclusionary rule, support suppression of the physical evidence here.

¶ 3. In response to the second issue, we hold that Matthew J. Knapp (Knapp) provided statements to the DCI agents voluntarily, and that the circuit court correctly applied Harris2 by admitting such statements solely for impeachment purposes during cross-examination.

¶ 4. Next, since we have determined that the motion to suppress the evidence (the sweatshirt) seized as a direct result of the intentional Miranda violation at the apartment should have been granted, there is no need to determine whether the alleged Edwards3 violation should also result in suppression of the sweatshirt seized. ¶ 5. Similarly, with regard to the fourth issue, since we have determined that the motion to suppress the sweatshirt seized as a direct result of the intentional Miranda violation at the apartment should have been granted, there is no need to determine whether the alleged Fourth Amendment violation, relating to a failure to knock and announce at the exterior doors prior to entering the premises, should also result in suppression of the sweatshirt seized.

¶ 6. Fifth, based upon the facts of this case, we hold that George Knapp (George), the defendant's brother, did not have actual or common authority to consent to a search of Knapp's bedroom, but that there was apparent authority. The circuit court was wrong when it held that physical evidence obtained during that second warrantless search should be suppressed.

¶ 7. Sixth, in light of Denny,4 Chambers,5 and the rules of evidence, we hold that the circuit court correctly determined that hearsay evidence, implicating a potential third party in the victim's murder, could be admitted.


¶ 8. The facts of this case are undisputed. Knapp's trial has been stayed pending the outcome of this appeal. The facts are drawn from the preliminary hearing, the motion hearings, and the allegations in the complaint and information.

¶ 9. Resa Scobie Brunner (Resa) was murdered in her home on December 12, 1987. At about 2 p.m. that day, her husband, Ervin J. Brunner (Brunner), found Resa lying in their bedroom beaten to death by a baseball bat, and he called the Watertown Police. The autopsy established Resa's time of death as being between 2:15 and 4:30 a.m. Brunner claimed that he had been with another woman, Sharon Maas (Maas), all evening and had slept at his parents' house in Clyman that night. Brunner told police that he and Maas were in a bar in Sullivan until 2 a.m., and then they drove directly to his parents' house in Clyman without stopping in Watertown.

¶ 10. At the time of the murder Maas was living at the home of Richard Borchardt, Sr. (Borchardt) in Watertown. Borchardt is now deceased and was never interviewed by police. Patricia Farrell, a friend of Borchardt's, told Watertown police during an August 4, 2000, interview that sometime after Resa's murder Borchardt told Farrell that on the night of the murder Maas arrived at the house very late and, after a short time inside the house, left with a brown paper bag. Borchardt told Farrell that he looked out the window and saw a truck he recognized as Brunner's sitting in the driveway with its lights turned off. Maas got into the truck and it backed out of the driveway and departed.

¶ 11. Knapp was the last person seen with Resa that night. They were seen drinking together in a Watertown bar, and then eating together in a Watertown restaurant after the bar closed. Resa and Knapp got up to leave the restaurant at the same time, but Knapp left first, as Resa had to go back to pay her check. At the time of the murder Knapp was on parole. He was arrested on a parole violation on December 13, 1987, at the apartment he shared with his brother, George, and George's fiancée (now his wife), Helen. ¶ 12. Knapp resided with his brother and Helen in the second floor apartment of a house in Watertown. Access to the apartment was from doors on the ground floor, up a carpeted stairwell, to another door leading directly into the living room of the apartment. The door on the second floor contained a large window. The exterior doors consisted of a screen door and a wooden door. There was no working doorbell, and the exterior wooden door was not regularly locked.

¶ 13. On the day of Knapp's initial arrest, Detective Timothy Roets (Roets) of the Watertown Police Department entered the exterior doors of Knapp's apartment without knocking or announcing, and proceeded up the stairwell to the door at the top of the stairs. Roets saw Knapp through the door's window and told Knapp to open the door because he had a warrant for Knapp's arrest on a parole violation. Knapp picked up the phone to call his attorney. Knapp claims that Roets was banging on the door and ordering him to open up.6 Regardless of whether Roets was banging or knocking, he asked Knapp to open the door. Knapp hung up the phone, stepped back, let Roets in, and told Roets he was trying to call his attorney. Roets informed Knapp that he had to go to the police station. Knapp and Roets went to Knapp's bedroom so Knapp could put on some shoes, and Roets asked Knapp what he had been wearing the prior evening. Knapp pointed to a pile of clothing on the floor. Roets seized the pile of clothing and transported Knapp to the police station. In that pile of clothing was a blue sweatshirt. A DNA test later determined the sweatshirt contained Resa's blood on one sleeve. Roets did not give Knapp his Miranda warnings prior to asking him what he had been wearing, and Knapp did not say anything else about contacting his attorney at that time.

¶ 14. At the station Roets questioned Knapp further but still did not give him Miranda warnings. Knapp believed that he was assisting Roets as a witness, not as a suspect to Resa's murder. Knapp provided Roets with information about the prior evening, including the fact that he witnessed Resa fighting with another woman. Knapp stated that Resa got a bloody nose from the encounter and that he helped her wipe the blood on his sleeve. When it occurred to Knapp that he was not being questioned as a witness, but rather as a suspect, he asserted his right to counsel and stopped the questioning.

¶ 15. While Knapp was at the station Roets asked Knapp's brother, George, for consent to search the apartment. George was allowed to speak with Knapp and informed Knapp that he was consenting to a search of the apartment. Though Roets was not certain whether the consent form was signed before or after the conversation between George and Knapp, George testified that he talked to Knapp before signing the consent form. The consent George signed agreed to a search of the entire apartment, although the consent form did not specifically mention Knapp's bedroom.

¶ 16. There was testimony from both Knapp and George that Knapp was to pay George $150 in rent for the use of the bedroom. The record is unclear as to whether or not Knapp had actually paid George any money, as he had only been there a short time before the arrest. However, the circuit court determined that Knapp had paid rent. Testimony about Knapp's bedroom revealed that Knapp was given a bedroom, which had a door and a lock, that he kept the door closed when he was not home, he had his own key to the apartment, and that George would not enter the bedroom without asking Knapp.

¶ 17. Resa's murder went unsolved and uncharged for twelve years. In addition to investigating Knapp's involvement, the police department interviewed and investigated others. Knapp asserts that a likely suspect of Resa's murder is her husband, Brunner. Prior...

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